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Old 01-17-2013, 02:42 PM   #1
dark acacia
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Vacation mode

One of the first MUDs I tried out after taking a break from the very first MUD I played had a vacation mode, whereby a player would set a date to return to the game, and before that date would be unable to log in. It was meant to help people keep away when there were other pressing concerns (exams, housework, baby on the way, etc.). It seems like a neat feature so why did this never catch on?

I suspect that the reason might be that some people may not come back at all after the vacation mode term expires. I took a break from Alter Aeon to try Materia Magica, and from Materia Magica to try Burning Post 2, and as it stands I'm having trouble going back to either of those games because I've been away from them. Maybe supporting addiction to a game helps keep it going?
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:55 PM   #2
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Wink Re: Vacation mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
One of the first MUDs I tried out after taking a break from the very first MUD I played had a vacation mode, whereby a player would set a date to return to the game, and before that date would be unable to log in. It was meant to help people keep away when there were other pressing concerns (exams, housework, baby on the way, etc.). It seems like a neat feature so why did this never catch on?

I suspect that the reason might be that some people may not come back at all after the vacation mode term expires. I took a break from Alter Aeon to try Materia Magica, and from Materia Magica to try Burning Post 2, and as it stands I'm having trouble going back to either of those games because I've been away from them. Maybe supporting addiction to a game helps keep it going?
Yes. Yes it does.
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Old 01-17-2013, 04:48 PM   #3
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Re: Vacation mode

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Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
One of the first MUDs I tried out after taking a break from the very first MUD I played had a vacation mode, whereby a player would set a date to return to the game, and before that date would be unable to log in. It was meant to help people keep away when there were other pressing concerns (exams, housework, baby on the way, etc.). It seems like a neat feature so why did this never catch on?
To be honest that doesn't strike me as a particularly constructive feature. If someone has to study or do housework then it's up to them to manage their time appropriately - a self-imposed ban won't stop them from creating a new character, or playing another mud, or going out drinking, etc. It also means that if their situation changes (e.g., they finish their housework earlier than expected) they can't log on.

However I could see it being useful as an indicator for staff or other players, if it provided information about what they were doing and when they expected to be back (a bit like an email autoreply). And if they return before that date, no problem.
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Old 01-17-2013, 06:00 PM   #4
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Re: Vacation mode

I remember this feature being called "hibernate" on muds back in the day.

Keeping up with the Joneses, we originally had a hibernate command on Threshold.

I think it was something like this:

Code:
USAGE:
hibernate <x> hours
hibernate <y> days
I got rid of it for a very simple reason. Nearly 100% of the times it was used, I would get emails from the person asking me to remove it early. Almost every time someone used it, they regretted it and would ask me to remove the hibernation.

Ultimately it was a pretty pointless feature that accomplished nothing positive. It just made more work for me.
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Old 01-17-2013, 08:32 PM   #5
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Re: Vacation mode

We have been asked a dozen or so times to password a player's character and not return it for such a duration of time. This is always an odd request, as days later( similar to Threshold's post) they usually log in and ask for their passwords back before that time is up and I've never been able to say no, after all, it is their character
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:36 PM   #6
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Re: Vacation mode

Why not just set a policy where the hibernation mode is final until the set duration is up? Most games with a delete command which players can use make it clear that deletion is final even if staff can restore a player-deleted character. You don't even have to be the heavy; just include an automatic warning stating that hibernation is final (up to the date, barring accidents like the player somehow set the year 2073 instead of 2013).

I realize that players should be responsible enough to manage their time wisely on their own, but I'm sure many MUDders who went through college probably procrastinated to the last minute in their studies or projects at one point or another (or maybe most of the time) just because playing their favorite MUD was infinitely more interesting. Having a hibernation mode just helps players keep on track when they need to get to work. Besides, willpower is only good for the short term, and absence makes the heart grow fonder.

To quote Belkar from OOTS: "hard work pays off in the long run, but laziness always pays off right now."

Last edited by dark acacia : 01-17-2013 at 10:44 PM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 07:26 AM   #7
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Re: Vacation mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
Why not just set a policy where the hibernation mode is final until the set duration is up?
So if they finish their housework early, or their vacation is cancelled, or their hotel unexpectedly has Wi-Fi, or their exam is postponed, or their roommate puts them into hibernation as a joke, or they break up with their fiance before the wedding, etc, etc, etc, what happens then? They've got free time on their hands, but you refuse to let them play? As an admin, you'll still get pestered about it - do you refuse to let them play just because "those are the rules"? What if they typo the hibernation duration? How can you tell if they're telling the truth about it being a typo?

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Most games with a delete command which players can use make it clear that deletion is final even if staff can restore a player-deleted character.
I don't offer a delete command, either, for much the same reason. Situations change. If someone doesn't want to play any more, they can simply stop logging on.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:13 AM   #8
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Re: Vacation mode

Taking this topic on a little bit of a tangent (because 99% of people will agree that it's up to the individual user to regulate his own behavior rather than asking on-line games to code a feature to compensate for his lack of discipline, making this a non-issue), I've noticed that muds very much thrive on, and even expect "addicts."

On nearly every mud I've played, the majority of the playerbase (e.g., the "regulars") is online every day, sometimes for 8 hours or more. They play from work, they play from school, they play from home, they'll go a night without sleeping if there's a good group doing something or if there's a special event of some kind, they'll cut class or even call in sick to work if they're involved in a good group or some serious rp, and on the weekends, they're logged in for nearly 48 continuous hours...they're strange like that. Depending on the type of mud, it's very hard, and in some cases impossible, to be taken seriously as a player if you're not logging in every day.

Disregarding whether these "regular" mud players have a psychological addiction or exhibit unhealthy behaviors (let's just assume that they are in full control of their lives but make the conscious choice to spend a lot of time and energy playing games, fully aware of any consequences), is it a good thing that muds are specifically set up to cultivate these types of players while marginalizing regular computer gamers who would dare to treat an immersive continuous multiplayer RPG as a mere casual hobby worthy of only the occasional login?
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:53 AM   #9
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Re: Vacation mode

I try to cater to casual players as well, but I'm not going to kick someone off for spending too much time online.
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Old 01-18-2013, 12:57 PM   #10
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Re: Vacation mode

Quote:
Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
So if they finish their housework early, or their vacation is cancelled, or their hotel unexpectedly has Wi-Fi, or their exam is postponed, or their roommate puts them into hibernation as a joke, or they break up with their fiance before the wedding, etc, etc, etc, what happens then? They've got free time on their hands, but you refuse to let them play? As an admin, you'll still get pestered about it - do you refuse to let them play just because "those are the rules"? What if they typo the hibernation duration? How can you tell if they're telling the truth about it being a typo?
Fine, make the duration no more than, say, four weeks. That way they can't accidentally turn themselves into Rip van Winkle and be locked out for a hundred real years. Four weeks is plenty of time for someone to get their act together offline or at least make a lot of progress, and a person's own willpower is never enough to resist something for a long time.

If someone's roommate hibernates someone or otherwise interferes with their character, then the person who has control of the character should have known better than to leave password-protected things vulnerable to interference.

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I don't offer a delete command, either, for much the same reason. Situations change. If someone doesn't want to play any more, they can simply stop logging on.
There's always a delete function, even if it means going to random.org and generating an impossible-to-remember password and logging off. I use it for games I can't otherwise easily quit.
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Old 01-18-2013, 01:20 PM   #11
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Re: Vacation mode

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Originally Posted by dark acacia View Post
Fine, make the duration no more than, say, four weeks.
Even if such a feature were implemented, the player could just create another character, or they could play another game. You said yourself that you had trouble returning to muds after taking a break from them - a vacation mode won't force players to work or study, it'll just send them to another game.

Quote:
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There's always a delete function, even if it means going to random.org and generating an impossible-to-remember password and logging off. I use it for games I can't otherwise easily quit.
Players forget their passwords sometimes anyway. Restoring a password is less problematic than restoring a deleted pfile.
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Old 01-18-2013, 02:23 PM   #12
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Re: Vacation mode

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Originally Posted by KaVir View Post
Even if such a feature were implemented, the player could just create another character, or they could play another game. You said yourself that you had trouble returning to muds after taking a break from them - a vacation mode won't force players to work or study, it'll just send them to another game.
I don't always have trouble returning to games. Sometimes quitting a game I had really become attached to can be as hard as trying to rekindle interest in a game, or sometimes I just log in to places out of habit. Stay thirsty.

A vacation mode would work if the MUD is the only game a person plays. This is common enough, as I've encountered MANY people who insist that their MUD is the final answer in online gaming and won't try anything else.

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Players forget their passwords sometimes anyway. Restoring a password is less problematic than restoring a deleted pfile.
Locking oneself out by changing the password creates an extra hurdle in returning to the game and it creates a sense of closure, while simply logging out allows the temptation of logging back in to remain unhindered. I think that some people do get addicted to games, but I really doubt that people get to the withdrawal stage. Usually I miss a game or a character for about a week or so and then I'm over it, but I never got to the point where I was begging the admins to reset my password.
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Old 01-19-2013, 02:00 AM   #13
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Re: Vacation mode

dark acacia, no matter how many tweaks you suggest it won't change the fact that players are still going to pester admins to let them back in, and there are a ton of legitimate reasons for them to do so.

A smart admin doesn't create features that accomplish nothing positive for the game and at the same time generate a lot of extra busy work for them.

It is quite simply a bad idea for a command/feature.

That's why you don't see it very often these days, compared to 15+ years ago when it was almost a universal standard.
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Old 01-19-2013, 09:22 PM   #14
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Re: Vacation mode

I was just asking and making suggestions, geez.
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